Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Tunis that backing an armed insurgency against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad “is an excellent idea.” He told her that because she asked his opinion, which means she’s thinking about it, as well.
The Iraqi insurgency soured most Americans on the idea of helping Arab countries get rid of a tyrant, but our interests in the region haven’t changed. Our biggest problem then as now is the Iranian- and Syrian-led resistance bloc, consisting not only of the odious regimes in Tehran and Damascus, but also their networks of terrorist organizations and insurgent groups from the Levant to Mesopotamia.
Assad isn’t only just now becoming a headache. He backed anti-American and anti-Iraqi Sunni death squads and suicide bombers to the hilt. His family has spent decades arming an array of terrorist organizations that menace our friends and allies in Israel and Lebanon. And the longer the revolution continues, the more freelance foreign al-Qaeda fighters will pour into the country to “help.”
We aren’t the only ones wondering whether or not we should support the insurrection, or at least parts of it. If the United States doesn’t do it, the Saudis and Turks may do it themselves. Al-Qaeda fighters will most likely show up, if they haven’t already. Another question we’re going to have to start asking ourselves is whether or not we want any leverage in Syria after Assad is deposed. A hostile Islamist government in Damascus is far more likely to follow Baathist Syria if the Saudis and Turks decide who gets guns instead of us.